Many soldiers return home having faced horrific and unimaginable circumstances overseas. They may be tough, but they are human, and too many face overwhelming health challenges that impede any chances to thrive. Some have lost a limb and their mobility is severely reduced. Others suffer post-traumatic stress disorder or have brain injuries that make returning to normal civilian life a major uphill battle. Most Americans have never experienced what veterans have gone through and are thankful for their bravery and sacrifice. Here are 15 ways to support veterans that are more than a simple “Thank you”.
Disabled American Veterans
“For nearly a century, DAV has fought for veterans. Last year alone we impacted the lives of over 1 million veterans in life-changing ways. We couldn’t assist any veterans without the generosity of caring individuals who share our mission of supporting those who have sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms. Here are some of the ways you can help our nation’s ill and injured heroes.”
Wounded Warrior Project
“More than 52,000 servicemen and women have been physically injured in recent military conflicts. 500,000 are living with invisible wounds, from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder. 320,000 are experiencing debilitating brain trauma.
“Advancements in technology and medicine save lives – but the quality of those lives might be profoundly altered. The numbers speak for themselves, because not every warrior can. With the support of our community of donors and team members, we give a voice to those needs and empower our warriors to begin the journey to recovery.”
Homes for Our Troops
“Homes For Our Troops (HFOT) is a privately funded non-profit organization that builds and donates specially adapted custom homes nationwide for severely injured post – 9/11 Veterans, to enable them to rebuild their lives. Most of these Veterans have sustained injuries including multiple limb amputations, partial or full paralysis, and/or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). These homes restore some of the freedom and independence our Veterans sacrificed while defending our country, and enable them to focus on their family, recovery, and rebuilding their lives. Since its inception in 2004, nearly 90 cents out of every dollar has gone directly to our program services for Veterans. HFOT builds these homes where the Veteran chooses to live, and continues its relationship with the Veterans after home delivery to assist them with rebuilding their lives.”
United Service Organizations
“The USO provides programs, entertainment and services at more than 200 USO locations worldwide, including Afghanistan, Djibouti, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Italy, Japan, Iraq, South Korea and the United States.
“In 2017, USO centers were visited more than 7 million times by service members and their families. USO centers provide a warm and comforting place where service members can connect to loved ones via Internet or phone, play a video game, catch a movie, have a snack or just put their feet up and relax. Currently, the four USO centers in Afghanistan collectively average more than 25,000 visits a month while our two centers in Kuwait collectively average more than 39,500 visits monthly.”
Visit Wounded Vets in a Nearby Veterans Affairs Facility
“This site is a storehouse of facility and key staff information within 1,920 VA facilities, maintained on a regular basis by editors and administrators nationwide throughout the VA network. Designed for ease-of-use, this site categorizes information for browsing by state and administration, as well as by viewing through an interactive map of the United States.”
National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
“The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) – a non-profit organization governed by a 23-member board of directors – is the resource and technical assistance center for a national network of community-based service providers and local, state and federal agencies that provide emergency and supportive housing, food, health services, job training and placement assistance, legal aid and case management support for hundreds of thousands of homeless veterans each year.”
Feed Our Vets
“Since 2008, Feed Our Vets has provided free food assistance to more than 20,000 Veterans and their family members, distributing 445,000 lbs. of food.
“Feed Our Vets is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help Veterans in the United States, their spouses and children whose circumstances have left them on the battlefield of hunger, and to involve the public in fighting Veteran hunger. We do this through:
- Community food pantries that provide regular, free food distributions to veterans and their families.
- Distribution of related goods and services.
- Public education and outreach.
“More than 130,000 Veterans are homeless and hungry on any given night in America. One in three homeless people in America is a U.S. Military Veteran. And nearly four million Veterans and their families don’t have enough to eat during the year. We provide food for veterans throughout the US.”
“The mission of Patriot PAWS is to train and provide service dogs of the highest quality at no cost to disabled American veterans and others with mobile disabilities and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in order to help restore their physical and emotional independence. Patriot PAWS intends to build partnerships with local, state and national organizations to help develop and support this goal.”
How to afford a service dog: https://www.bankrate.com/personal-finance/how-to-afford-a-service-dog/
Honor Flight Network
Honor Flight Network
“Our Mission: To transport America’s Veterans to Washington, DC to visit those memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of themselves and their friends.
“Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices. We transport our heroes to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials. Top priority is given to the senior veterans – World War II survivors, along with those other veterans who may be terminally ill.”
“Each year, we send hundreds of thousands of Care Packages to those who serve. We need your help filling, packing, and shipping them. Join us!”
“Hire Heroes USA is one hundred percent committed to veteran and military spouse employment, which is demonstrated through our relentless focus on professional and personalized service. So, what sets us apart?
“Our services are free and most are offered virtually, so we work with clients regardless of location. Clients are individually-paired with a Transition Specialist – many of whom are veterans and military spouses and all of whom understand how challenging the job search can be.
“We offer services beyond the 1-1 assistance from a Transition Specialist, including virtual workshops, career fairs, webinars, a job board and more. Our services don’t go away until the veteran or military spouse decides they no longer need them.
“Our job board houses tens of thousands of jobs posted by companies who have been vetted by our staff. We partner with companies that offer scholarships and training opportunities to veterans and military spouses. Our network of more than 750 volunteers – most of whom work in corporate America, as entrepreneurs, or as federal employees – coach, mentor and mock interview clients to help them prepare for the job search.”
Building Homes for Heroes
“Building Homes for Heroes® is a national non-profit, non-partisan organization founded in 2006.
“Building Homes for Heroes® is strongly committed to rebuilding lives and supporting the brave men and women who were injured while serving the country during the time of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. The organization builds or modifies homes, and gifts them, mortgage-free, to veterans and their families. It’s our honor to support the men and women who have loyally and courageously served our country.”
Fisher House Foundation
“Fisher House Foundation builds comfort homes where military & veteran families can stay free of charge, while a loved one is in the hospital. These homes are located at military and VA medical centers around the world.
“Fisher Houses have up to 21 suites, with private bedrooms and baths. Families share a common kitchen, laundry facilities, a warm dining room and an inviting living room. Since inception, the program has saved military and veterans’ families an estimated $407 million in out of pocket costs for lodging and transportation.”
Puppies Behind Bars
“Puppies Behind Bars (PBB) trains prison inmates to raise service dogs for wounded war veterans and first responders, as well as explosive-detection canines for law enforcement. Puppies enter prison at the age of 8 weeks and live with their inmate puppy-raisers for approximately 24 months. As the puppies mature into well-loved, well-behaved dogs, their raisers learn what it means to contribute to society rather than take from it.”
Volunteer Transportation Network
Wounded Warriors Canada
“Today, we continue our legacy of care and compassion as the nation’s leading, wholly independent, Veteran’s charity focusing on mental health. Our innovative and wide-ranging programming, which will exceed 1.8M in 2017, is changing the lives of ill and injured Veterans, First Responders and their families. This is only made possible as a result of the compassionate trust and support of individual Canadians and Canadian businesses, enabling us to carry forward our guiding ethos: Honour the Fallen, Help the Living.”
Hire A Vet
“Advertise jobs for free on Job Bank and market them to Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces looking for work. This will encourage veterans to apply to your job.”